Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
Nancy Thurston, PsyD
Mark McMinn, PhD
Marilyn Charles, PhD
Dissociation commonly occurs as a defense against trauma and can be understood as a breakdown in metacognition. The present research investigated the relationship between trauma, dissociation, and metacognition in subjects with PTSD, a trauma-related disorder. Specifically, we investigated a potential inverse relationship between metacognition and dissociation in participants who have undergone psychoanalytic therapy. Participants were patients admitted to the Austen Riggs Center, who consented to be a part of the Follow Along Study (FAS), a longitudinal investigation spanning 15 years. Quantitative and qualitative analyses examined differences in themes of dissociation across initial and follow-up-clinical interviews. Quantitatively, all subscales for metacognition showed significant and large improvements after psychoanalytic therapy. Qualitatively, follow-up-interviews revealed greater remembering, selfacceptance, emotional accessibility, generosity, and social connectedness. Thus, psychoanalytic therapy increased participants’ metacognitive abilities, allowed participants to develop a more coherent narrative of the self, and reduced participants’ dissociative tendencies. Implications and future directions are discussed.
Nalbandian, Richard E., "Dissociation and Metacognition: A Mixed Methods Analysis" (2020). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 316.